Hannås collection of Scandinavian books

Den fullkomlige engliske wägwisaren för de swenske
Title pages from Den fullkomlige engliske wägwisaren för de swenske by Magnus Lagerström (Stockholm, 1731)

This collection of Scandinavian linguistics was built up by Torgrim Hannås, a Norwegian-born antiquarian bookseller. He presented 710 items to the Library in 1984.

About the collection

Ninety per cent of the collection comprises works published within Scandinavia, and the rest are works relating to the Scandinavian languages published elsewhere. The dates of publication range from 1587 to 1975, with a predominance of material dating from 1700-1850.

The two largest categories are dictionaries, both general and special, and grammars, which together constitute about 25% of the collection. Another 20% is made up of textbooks on particular languages, readers, phrase books, and related material and a similar proportion of monographs on the Scandinavian languages and linguistics in general.

Most major bilingual dictionaries of the 18th and early 19th centuries are represented as well as several dialect dictionaries. Grammars are another highlight, with examples of first texts written in the vernacular, as well as early English grammars for Scandinavians.

The collection also includes some thirty phrase books, which throw interesting light on the social conditions of their time. These include phrase books for Scandinavian emigrants to America between 1852 and 1899.

What is available online?

All the books in the Hannås Collection can be found in our online catalogue, Explore the British Library.

Pre-1875 books from the Hannås Collection can be accessed online via the Google Books project.

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

Post-1850 books from the Hannås Collection can be ordered to any of our Reading Rooms, usually within 70 minutes. Pre-1850 material can be consulted in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room.

Further information

The Hannås Collection: Catalogue of a Collection of Scandinavian Dictionaries, Grammars and Linguistic Literature, Presented to the British Library by Torgrim Hannås (London: British Library, 1994) by Peter Hogg includes British Library shelfmarks for each entry, as well as indexes of printers, publishers, and booksellers, places of publication and dates of publication.